But the car and the Garmin, and Kris's bravery in driving unfamiliar roads, meant that we weren't tied to a short leash this time around. We spent one long day at Biltmore (which I love love love) and ate supper at Grove Park Inn (more about which in the Food Post, coming up tomorrow), so on Tuesday, we ventured forth.
Highland Craft Guild. The Folk Art Center is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, nestled in among the trees and hills. The Gift Shop is full, and I do mean full, of amazing pieces made by local Guild Members. Wood, glass, leather, paper, fabric, glass... weaving, quilting, carving, glass blowing, basketry... jewelry, pottery, ornaments, paintings, prints, clothing... all beautifully made, and all for sale. Kris and I browsed for at least an hour, bemoaning our lack of suitcase room (and funds- these were pieces of art, and priced accordingly). My biggest surprise was that there wasn't a single spindle, or any handspun yarn for sale. Otherwise, all of the handcrafts were amply and beautifully represented.
The upstairs of the center held an amazing quilt display. I am barely an amateur quilter, but I know beauty and technique when I see it. And I saw a lot of it.
I couldn't resist another photo.
Though the leaves were at least a week past peak, there was still a lot of glorious color.
So Beautiful.Blue Ridge Parkway, a highway that winds its way along 469 miles of mountain roads in the southern Appalachians in North Carolina and Virginia, we decided to continue on for a bit, just to looky-loo.
visitor center had a wonderful display on the Parkway history. That's where we picked up the brochure. Also the book of postcards.
Craggy Gardens, some 28 miles from the visitor center. The road was two-lane, narrow and winding, with a sensible 40mph speed limit. For most of the distance, the highway threaded among the trees. Take a peek at the cover of the postcard book- that's exactly what we saw. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and every corner, every bend brought a new and amazing scene to view. Unfortunately, those portions also had no places to pull over for photography, so I have to rely on the cover of the postcard book to show you (for some reason, there is no matching postcard of that scene IN the book).
It was incredibly beautiful.
We climbed steadily and slowly- the 28 mile drive took over an hour, though we did stop frequently. With scenes like this, we had no choice.
Since it was fall, none of the wildflowers were blooming, though we could see the many wild rhododendron plants, which surprised us both. Rhodies thrive in the temperate and very moist soil of Northwest Washington. We did not expect to see them at this altitude, where snow is not at all uncommon.
The views, as with all of the other views, were spectacular. We were above the general tree line at Craggy Gardens. The only vegetation was scrub and brushes and low trees...
More beauty.(the photo above, not the one below)
I'm so glad we had the time to explore a bit. Maybe next time, we'll venture even further.
Tomorrow: food, glorious food